Indiana Guardsman killed at Fort Hood was 'proud father and husband'

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Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John.

Indiana National Guard

The Indiana National Guard soldier who was killed on Thursday in a training accident at Fort Hood has been identified as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John, of Greenwood, Indiana.


St. John — "a proud father and husband," according to information released by the Indiana National Guard — served as an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment. According to the Indiana Guard, he was at Fort Hood serving as an "embedded observer controller/trainer with Army National Guard Operations Group Wolf."

Lt. Col. Chad Pittman, commander of the 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment, said in a statement released by the Indiana National Guard that St. John was "respected and admired for his great love for his country and family.

"He continually sought ways to ensure the success of subordinates, better himself as leader, and contribute to the achievements the organization," Pittman said. "My deepest sympathy for his family at this sad and difficult time."

St. John previously deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq; his awards include the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and more.

The tactical vehicle accident that resulted in St. John's death is still being investigated.

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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